GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids Community College is closing its campuses to students and most employees to slow the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19.
The partial shutdown, effective at the end of Wednesday, March 18, will allow a very limited number of employees to remain on campus. Others will work remotely, while continuing to help with financial aid, advising and college support services.
The college already started online classes this week, they will continue through April 3. GRCC said it is helping students get technology for distance learning through loaner laptops and boosting its free WiFi to cover a DeVos campus parking lot.
According to a press release Wednesday, the Student Life Office will continue to stack a pantry of free food for students, as well as resources in Kent and Ottawa counties with emergencies they might face during the coronavirus pandemic -- which has caused widespread closures in the region.
“Being relevant and responsive means we are completely committed to providing our students the quality GRCC education they expect and deserve,” President Bill Pink said.
The move, which affects the Grand Rapids and Lakeshore campuses, comes as state and federal authorities call for social distancing – limiting face-to-face interactions -- as an effective tool in mitigating the spread of the virus, also known as COVID-19.
►Here is a list of Michigan colleges, universities transitioning to online classes amid COVID-19 outbreak
GRCC suspended face-to-face instruction on March 11 until at least April 3 after consulting with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, county health and community experts, and higher education leaders across the state. The decision is part of an effort to protect the broader community and “flatten the curve” of infection.
As of Wednesday, March 18 there are more than 60 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Michigan. There are nearly 10 cases of COVID-19 in West Michigan.
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